This vibrant salad, which features several of Chile’s iconic ingredients, is a great companion to barbecued meats. Stir in cooked pasta (shells or rotini), and it can serve as a colorful and healthful main course.
For the salad:
- 1 pound grape or cherry tomatoes, red, yellow, or a mix, halved
- 3 ears of cooked sweet corn (grilled or boiled), shucked and sliced off the cob
- 2 avocados peeled, pitted, and diced
- 1 small red onion, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and thinly sliced
- 1 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed if canned (optional)
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves
- Butter lettuce leaves, such as Little Gem, for serving (optional)
For the dressing:
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 1 to 2 limes), or more to taste
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 to 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea), or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon merquén (see Notes below) or chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Make the salad: In a large mixing bowl, place the tomatoes, corn, avocados, onion, black beans (if using), and cilantro; stir gently with a rubber spatula to combine.
Make the dressing: In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, merquén (see Notes below), and black pepper. Shake vigorously to emulsify. Taste, adding more lime juice or salt; the dressing should be highly seasoned. Drizzle over the salad, mixing gently with a rubber spatula.
If using, arrange the lettuce leaves in a single layer on a platter. Tip the avocado and corn salad over the leaves. Or simply transfer the salad to an attractive serving bowl. Serve immediately.
Notes: Merquén is a spice blend unique to Chile, one we have come to love: It consists of smoked and dried goat’s horn chiles, salt, cumin, and toasted ground coriander. Find it at well-stocked spice stores or online. The salad can be made up to several hours ahead, covered, and refrigerated. But prepare and add the avocado just before serving.
Serves 6 — Recipe courtesy of the Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club